Two new Alexa-Enabled Devices from Amazon: Echo Dot and Amazon Tap

amazon dotThe retailer Amazon today unveiled a couple new products that feature the company’s voice control feature, Alexa. One might consider them brand extensions as they are basically related to the existing Amazon Echo product.

The Echo Dot is basically Alexa without the big speaker. The device works the same but to enjoy music one would to connect it to a speaker or receiver to get better audio quality. The Echo Dot does contain its own speaker, but this would only work for most people if the device was used as an alarm clock or similar.

The benefit here would be to use the Echo Dot to add some level of voice controls to a stereo, but that might be going a bit far. One can, for instance, stream music from Spotify or Amazon Prime through the device by hooking it up to an ancillary port, but it won’t actually control the receiver, meaning you’d have to change the input yourself. A better solution, it would seem to me, would be license the Alexa service to third party audio equipment makers and have them integrate it into the device. Come to think of it, why hasn’t Apple done this?

The Amazon Tap is also like the Echo in that it is a big Bluetooth speaker, only this time without Alexa built in. To use Alexa you have to use the Alexa app to communicate with the Amazon Tap. This may be a problem because the app has gotten terrible reviews. Unlike Google, Amazon is not a very good iOS developer.

Why has Amazon introduced these two new products when it already has the Amazon Echo? Probably because it has found that at $179.99 the market for the device is a bit limited. So, Amazon has priced the Echo Dot at $89.99 which gives you Alexa but not the big Bluetooth speaker, and the Amazon Tap at $129.99, which gives you the big Bluetooth speaker, but not built-in Alexa.

I have to admit that it has been a while since I was excited about buying a new gadget. Apple is really in very uncreative period right now, and with 4K TV content so limited I’m not in the market for a TV (though I did notice that Amazon is streaming some UHD content, but at outrageous prices). So, I’ve looked at the Echo as an option… and said no. I doubt either of these would work for me either, though the Echo Dot may be the one that seems to be the most useful.

Here is the new product announcement from Amazon:


 Amazon today announced two new Alexa-enabled devices: Echo Dot and Amazon Tap.

Echo-DotEcho Dot is a hands-free, voice controlled device that uses the same far-field voice recognition as Echo. Directly connect Echo Dot to speakers with an audio cable or via Bluetooth, and add voice-control to your home stereo system. Plus, with its small built-in speaker, you can place Echo Dot in the bedroom and use it as a smart alarm clock, or in any room as a voice assistant to control smart home devices and more. Echo Dot is available for $89.99 exclusively for Prime members through Alexa Voice Shopping. To order an Echo Dot, existing Echo and Fire TV customers can just say “Alexa, order an Echo Dot.” Learn more about Echo Dot and see a video at

AmTapAmazon Tap is an Alexa-enabled portable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker that offers rich, full-range sound. Just tap the microphone button and ask for music, hear the news, search for information, order a pizza, and more with the Alexa Voice Service. Amazon Tap has dual stereo speakers with Dolby processing that provide crisp vocals, extended bass response, and 360° omni-directional audio. Amazon Tap is available for pre-order today for $129.99. Learn more about Amazon Tap and see a video at

reposted with permission from Talking New Media

D. B. Hebbard

View posts by D. B. Hebbard
Douglas Hebbard (or if you are using D.B. Hebbard use that) is a 30+ year veteran of the newspaper and magazine publishing business, and has been publisher of the digital publishing website Talking New Media since 2010.


  1. Scott Lewis3 March, 2016

    Amazon Tap has Alexa built in. It just doesn’t have the always listening multiple microphones. That’s why it’s called tap. You tap the button to activate Alexa. You would use the app to trigger it remote without needing to hit the button.

  2. Frank3 March, 2016

    The Amazon Tap certainly has Alexa built-in. The only differences between Echo and Tap are that the Tap is smaller and portable.

  3. puzzled3 March, 2016

    “Apple is really in very uncreative period right now”

    This is going to last until Steve Jobs comes back again…

    1. Syn4 March, 2016

      That is probably the most truest statement I’ve read in a while.

  4. fjtorres3 March, 2016

    Uh, Nate…
    This aricle is under-selling Alexa. By a lot.

    Amazon has gone one better than just licensing Alexa.

    Alexa itself is totally cloud-based and has a front end API set and developer kit that is open to all comers.
    And the comers are coming in droves.
    Echo is far more than a simple music streamer: it is actually a home automation hub that can (and does) use Alexa to control smart light bulbs, thermostats, home security systems, garage doors, and all sorts of internet-connected devices and services. As the “Internet of things” grows, Alexa will grow with it.

    The Dot exists primarily to serve as satellite voice pickups for an Alexa home network. High quality speakers are optional for that function.
    It also provides a lower cost home automation hub both for those with no interest in music streaming as well as those that already have a quality audio system.

  5. Syn4 March, 2016

    Echo is awesome. I can’t tell you how many times I’m mindlessly driving down the street and have the urge to ask Alexa a question, only to realize I can’t. She controls my Hue bulbs in my office, plays my play list, reads my Kindle Books, plays my Audible books, not to mention all the IFTTT commands. I love it.

    I just ordered Amazon Tap to solve that car problem I have when I want to ask Alexa a question.


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